In a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Mitt Romney declared “I am an unapologetic believer in the greatness of this country...I am not ashamed of American power.”
To Washington Post reporters Scott Wilson and Nia-Malika Henderson, this rhetoric sounded outdated and unrealistic:
The lofty appeal to a mid-20th-century view of U.S. power stood in sharp contrast to Obama’s more calculated, realist approach to diplomacy. A Washington Post-ABC News poll published in May found that 48 percent of Americans supported Obama’s handling of foreign affairs, while 46 percent did not.
This is the relevant paragraph of the transcript:
ROMNEY: I am an unapologetic believer in the greatness of this country. I am not ashamed of American power. I take pride that throughout history our power has brought justice where there was tyranny, peace where there was conflict, and hope where there was affliction and despair. I do not view America as just one more point on the strategic map, one more power to be balanced. I believe our country is the greatest force for good the world has ever known, and that our influence is needed as much now as ever. And I am guided by one overwhelming conviction and passion: This century must be an American Century.
The Post was alarmed that Romney used harsh words to attack Obama:
Romney told the VFW audience, which heard from Obama the previous day, that “the last few years have been a time of declining influence and missed opportunity.” He used words such as “diminished,” “devastation,” “faltered,” “misjudgment” and “abandonment” to describe the president’s record.
Romney also used the word "contemptible" to describe Team Obama's leaks to promote his foreign policy as muscular. The Post presented the Obama line as conventional wisdom:
With the economy ailing, the Obama campaign has often presented the president’s foreign policy record as a proxy of leadership and competence.
His advisers have argued that he has been successful in restoring the nation’s image as a reliable global player, reinvigorating alliances neglected by his predecessor and engaging traditional antagonists. His winding down of two inherited wars — and the killing of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden — have been celebrated in campaign advertising and on the trail.
The story concluded with Biden slamming Romney as out of the mainstream:
Romney’s past characterization of Russia as the United States’ “No. 1 geopolitical foe” also has drawn criticism from the Obama campaign, namely Vice President Biden, who has accused Romney of being trapped in a Cold War mentality.
In a statement issued by the campaign, Biden said: “All we heard from Governor Romney was empty rhetoric and bluster. He reflexively criticizes the President’s policies without offering any alternatives. When he does venture a position, it’s a safe bet that he previously took exactly the opposite position and will probably change his mind again and land in the wrong place — far out of the mainstream.”